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Award for forester ‘born with a billhook in his hand’
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Wimborne St Giles forester John White, centre, receives his award from RFS President Nick Halsey (right), with Shaftesbury Estate’s Stewart Hand (left)

Date Issued: 03 June 2013


Wimborne St Giles forester John White has received a Long Service Award from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) in recognition of 35 years’ work on the award-winning Shaftesbury Estate woodlands. John, who retired in March, worked with his father in woods from a very young age and  joined the estate’s forestry team in 1978, helping them to become joint winners of the Duke of Cornwall Award for Multipurpose Forestry in 1992.

Shaftesbury Estate’s Stewart Hand said: “John was practically born with a billhook. He has helped us to manage 1000 acres of mixed woodland for timber production, conservation and shooting over the decades and his knowledge and skills have been invaluable.”

RFS President Nick Halsey presented the award to John at the RFS AGM at Forde Abbey, near Chard.

He says: “The skills that are learned, honed and passed down over decades from forester to forester have helped shape our woodlands. The expertise of foresters such as John, combined with new research and practices will be vital in helping the UK to combat the increasing threat of pests and diseases to our woodlands  grows. We wish John every success in his retirement and congratulate him on the legacy he has helped create in the woodlands at Shaftesbury Estate.”

For more information on the RFS  and how to join the Somerset and Devon Division go to